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  • Tim McGill

Forecasting From Home For Chicago Meteorologists

I suppose the phrase "social distancing" has been around a long time but it is now part of our everyday vernacular. It is being put into practice all over our country and now it has hit home for me as my fellow meteorologists are talking about low and high pressure systems from their homes.

Paul Konrad from WGN and Tracy Butler from ABC 7 Chicago are two more local weather folks to forecast from home.

I am preparing for that eventuality in the event CBS 2 Chicago prefers that I stay away from the studio's green screen and has me broadcast from my home instead the next time I am needed. This involves remotely accessing the stations weather computer through a VPN or virtual private network. It allows me to access the weather information and graphics needed to make a forecast and assemble a show. My "studio" is in my basement. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, the clutter and mess that comes with all the wiring and equipment needed to broadcast from home is more out of sight. The main reason is that you won't hear my dog barking when the Amazon delivery person drops off a package.

Blatant plug alert! I haven't been broadcasting yet but I have been streaming on my YouTube Channel Chicago Weather Talk. Please check it out.

At last count I found at least three meteorologists and one traffic anchor working from home.

Megan Glaros and Yasmeen Hassan, my co-workers from CBS 2 Chicago are handling weather and traffic duties respectively from their living rooms. Brant Miller and Alicia Roman are doing the same as they forecast for NBC 5 Chicago.

Broadcasters in Britain are doing the same thing for the BBC. Anyone who works from home has to be careful about protecting their information. The BBC has some tips on how to safely work remotely. WPFO in Portland offers some tips too that applies to more than just broadcasters.

Will this temporary shift of workers doing their jobs away from the office become more permanent even when we get beyond the coronavirus crisis? According to a survey cited in TechRadar "more than four in five (workers) say they get through their workload and almost nine out of ten are satisfied with the tools and processes they use and think management gives them autonomy." when working remotely.

They are all doing an outstanding job (with the help of wonderful engineers and producers behind the scenes) given the current conditions but I look forward to when broadcasters are all back in the studio.

I'm also looking forward to being able to see this future news anchor in person. For now she is practicing her skills through Facetime. She needs to work on framing her shot a bit.

Stay safe everyone.


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